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Gambia signs financing agreement for WARCIP

Aug 3, 2011, 1:28 PM

Gambia’s ambassador to the United States of America, Alieu Ngum, last week signed a financing agreement between the Government of the Gambia and the International Development Association (IDA of the World Bank) for the West Africa Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (WARCIP), which officials say will help usher in a major infrastructural revolution in The Gambia, a statement from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs said yesterday.

According to the statement, the grant sum of SDR 21.6m (equivalent to US$35 million) is the national component of the US$300 million WARCIP provided by the World Bank in assisting Guinea Conakry, Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

It said McDonald Benjamin, World Bank acting country director, signed the financing agreement on behalf of the World Bank, which provides a unique opportunity for the recipient countries to have competitive access to the ACE submarine cable, and for creating an enabling environment and institutional strengthening to support private sector participation in ICT infrastructure.

“The project will, undoubtedly, help usher in a major infrastructural revolution in The Gambia. This is truly a unique opportunity to transform the lives of average citizens by providing better and affordable basic services through the use of ICT. Already, more Gambians than ever before are finding it essential to use phones, e-mail and the internet to communicate, share information, entertain, work and do business,” the ministry said.

It added that the impact on incomes, productivity and efficiency of public and private services has been unparalleled in a number of African countries, and will no doubt be replicated and scaled up in The Gambia which will now have better access to broadband services, as a result of its connection to ACE.

The ministry further stated that the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs has congratulated President Yahya Jammeh for his leadership and guidance in securing this deal.

The authorities at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs on behalf of President Jammeh, the government and people of The Gambia also expressed appreciation to the development partners, and assured them of their readiness to continue to cooperate with them for the benefit of Gambians.